BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Fort Hays State baseball team earned their first victory on Saturday (Mar. 2), defeating Southwest Baptist 10-7. The Tigers (1-13, 1-5 MIAA) ended a 29-game losing skid with the victory, while the Bearcats dipped to 8-7 on the year and 3-3 in conference action.
The Bearcats plated the first run of the afternoon in the first inning on an RBI single to left field from Carl Schwettmann. Fort Hays State immediately fired back in the home half with a 3-spot as two-hole hitter Garrett Francis reached base with a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch and then crossed home when Ryan Stoecklein lifted a ball to centerfield, grabbing his first of three runs batted in on the day. The Tigers continued the two-out rally as Taylan Mullins-Ohm ripped a double down the left field line and Landon Erway fired a 2-RBI single to center, giving the Tigers the 3-1 edge after one frame.
In the second frame, SBU plated another run before the Tigers pushed across a pair in the home half. Jake Taylor and Cody Starkel lead off the inning with back-to-back singles before Ryan Grasser placed a single into right field, scoring Starkel and Francis.
FHSU took momentum back in the fourth with a four-run frame. Tyler Olson produced a lead-off single before Francis delivered an infield single to third base. Grasser patiently earned a walk, loading the bases. Stoecklein added two more in the run column after placing a double into left field. A few batters later, Jared Maneth plated Erway and Stoecklein with a single of his own. FHSU tacked on another run in the fifth when Grasser doubled to the gap in left center, scoring Francis from first and giving the Tigers a 10-2 advantage after five innings of action.
SBU came storming back with a four-run sixth, chasing starter Cody Rottinghaus. Cole Zimmerman pitched the rest of the way shutting down the Bearcats and limiting them to only one more run in the ninth.
Rottinghaus (1-2) earned the victory on the hill, pitching 5.2 innings allowing five earned runs on five hits and punching out one strikeout. Zimmerman earned his first collegiate save by holding off the Bearcat offense in his 3.1 innings of work, allowing one run on three hits and striking out two batters.
Garrett Francis produced a season-high four runs in the contest scoring a run each time on base (one hit, two walks, one fielder's choice). Both Grasser and Stoecklein picked up three-RBI days, while five Tigers earned two hits on the afternoon.
FHSU will gear up for Emporia State next weekend (Mar. 8-10). The Tigers and Hornets are scheduled to face off on Friday at 3 p.m. in Larks Park.